Samsung Galaxy Chromebook vs. Galaxy Chromebook 2: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 (Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

The original Galaxy Chromebook has been out for over a year now, but with the discounts, it's gotten from retailers, it's still the better buy from a power and performance perspective. Just keep in mind that this ultra-thin Chromebook will get very warm during prolonged sessions.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

Buy it on sale

More powerful
Vivid 4K screen
Built-in stylus
Less-than-stellar battery life
Prone to overheating

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

Samsung trimmed the fat and fixed its battery woes with the Galaxy Chromebook 2, but the model ends up in the bizarre in-between. It's too expensive to compete with other Celeron and i3 Chromebooks, and it's not premium enough to battle the Pixelbook Go, ASUS Flip C436, or Acer Spin 713.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

The mediocre future

Still beautiful for less money
Nice-looking 1080p screen
Better battery life
Overpriced for the specs
No built-in stylus
Lack of ports hurts more here

The original Galaxy Chromebook was one of the best Chromebooks of 2020 and remains the best 4K Chromebook today. However, there has been some understandable confusion over whether it still deserves to be your next Chromebook when its successor has debuted at almost half the price. If you're dead set on having a Galaxy Chromebook and that sexy, sexy Fiesta Red, here's why the Galaxy Chromebook beats the Galaxy Chromebook 2 so long as the price is right.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is not an upgrade

I'd normally get into the finer points of why the next generation has some benefits even if it's not as powerful as its predecessor — and make no mistake, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is weaker in almost every measurable way — but I'm just going to let them speak for themselves:

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CategorySamsung Galaxy ChromebookSamsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Processor10th Gen Intel Core i5Intel Celeron 5205UIntel Core i3-10110U
Storage256GB SSD64-128GB eMMC
Display13.3" AMOLED 3840x2160px (4K)13.3" QLED 1920x1080px
Ports2x USB-CUFS/microSD card slotAudio combo jack2x USB-CmicroSD card slotAudio combo jack
FeaturesBacklit keyboardGaraged Active PenProject Athena certifiedFingerprint sensorBacklit keyboardActive Pen support
Battery49.2 WhrUp to 8 hours45.5 WhrUp to 13 hours
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6Bluetooth 4.0Wi-Fi 6Bluetooth 4.0
ColorsFiesta Red or Mercury GreyFiesta Red or Mercury Grey
Weight2.29lbs2.72 lbs
Price$1,000$549 (Celeron)$735 (Core i3)

Everything on the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is the same or worse with two exceptions: the price tag and the expected duration of the battery. While the Galaxy Chromebook has a bigger battery, that i5 processor eats it up like candy, so it only gets 5-8 hours of battery life on a charge, while the Galaxy Chromebook 2 can get much closer to the 10-12 we expect on a modern Chromebook. That said, considering the i3 model you'd actually want to purchase is still an i3, that number is actually more like 7-10 hours from the reviews so far.

The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is aimed at an entirely different market.

The lower price tag is the most important thing here. All of the sacrifices made, down to the rest of the spec sheet, were made to get the Galaxy Chromebook 2 down to almost half the original's price for that starter model. The OG Galaxy Chromebook was going after Pixelbook owners, while the Galaxy Chromebook 2 targets a more budget-conscious crowd that's still willing to pay a premium for Samsung style and a better-than-most screen.

While the screen on the 2 is a downgrade, it's still the first Chromebook with a QLED screen, and 1080p is perfectly fine for a 13.3-inch touchscreen. What's harder to deal with is the drop in power between an Intel Core i5 and a Celeron on the $549 model, which also only has 4GB of RAM — especially when you can get an i3, 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen, backlit keyboard, and more ports for under $400 in the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook.

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook vs. Galaxy Chromebook 2: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 13 Hero

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

If you're dead-set on a Galaxy Chromebook 2, you'd want the $700 model with the Intel Core i3 and 8GB of RAM — but you can get the original Galaxy Chromebook for $750 on Amazon right now. Best Buy has also routinely dropped the Galaxy Chromebook price into the same range, meaning that for about $50 more, you can get that sweet 4K screen, Project Athena performance, and a built-in stylus? Yeah, that's a no-brainer.

Honestly, why didn't Samsung just give the original Galaxy Chromebook this price cut six months ago and call it a day?

If you can't afford to go up to the $700-$800 range for the i3 or i5 models that you deserve, you've got better choices for performance in the Lenovo Flex 5, which is $380 but packs basically all the Galaxy Chromebook 2 features except the ultra-thin design and QLED screen. Hp also just announced a processor refresh of the HP Chromebook x360 14c, so the current model is down to $429 with an i3, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The screen is inferior to Samsung's, but it's powerful and much more affordable.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Another great option with a damn fine 2K touchscreen is the Acer Chromebook Spin 713; it's normally $630, but Best Buy drops it down to $530-$550 once or twice a month. The Spin 713 has an i5 — same as the original Galaxy Chromebook — 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage while still packing plenty of ports, including HDMI, so you won't need to reach for a dongle to extend to a secondary monitor.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.